What Is Noah Lyles’ Richest Contract In Track and Field Since Usain Bolt Worth?

By Kyle Merber

February 28, 2024

Now we know why Noah Lyles was so excited about that triple gold in Budapest! It was announced on Monday that Lyles’ new contract with Adidas is reportedly the most lucrative in track and field since Usain Bolt’s Puma partnership, and will run through the 2028 Olympics. 

First things first: Noah deserves this. Not only for his accolades – of which there are many and include the American record over 200 meters – but for his approach to marketing himself, the sport, and his associated sponsors. If there’s one critique of Lyles it would be that he is too available, always willing to give an interview, answer questions, and share his learnings as an athlete and pass it onto the next generation. Even his showmanship, which can be polarizing, is good for the sport, because it’s… well, polarizing! Whether you love him or hate him, you are watching to see what he’ll do next. And there aren’t many competitors who can drive continuous conversation in the way that he does because no one else at his level speaks so much and races so often. 

And he is bringing Adidas with him along the way. When the German shoe giant first signed Lyles and his brother Josephus they were investing in his career long term. And now despite the swoosh on his (ripped) jerseys at global championships, every track fan associates Lyles with Adidas.

Now the interesting aspect of the press release was the proclamation that this contract is now the richest since Usain Bolt. A helluva headline to grab the attention of fans… although it is simultaneously disappointing because there’s no number attached. Obviously the first thought of every track fan is to ask for specifics. Nothing is public so who can confirm or deny? For all we know Isai Rodriguez just signed with Puma for one billion dollars, but is keeping it to himself. (Note to self: write a blog about how I would change the sport if I had one billion dollars)

Bolt reportedly was making $10M/yr, which is good by most professional athlete standards. The next highest figure that’s ever been shared comes from 2015 when Andre De Grasse’s Puma deal was worth $11.25M over an undisclosed amount of time. With those figures in mind, and the fact that we know Noah is going through the LA Olympics, some back of the napkin math says it’s less than $10M, but over $2.3M/year. That must be nice! Although, I’d personally rather have dinner with Jay-Z.

As big of an unlock contract transparency would be, it’s not happening anytime soon. Why would Adidas want that? If Erriyon Knighton beats Noah in Tokyo then he can turn around and demand to be paid the same or more. And this already happens to some degree as many training partners and friends might share details. But the biggest benefactors to keeping athletes in the dark for their negotiations are the agents. Because if the next world beater goes to his or her agent and says, “I want $X because Adidas paid so and so $Y and I am better,” and they can’t get it… guess who's getting killed? The messenger.

This is Noah Lyles we are talking about here. If there is ever a guy who wants to lift up the curtains and let fans know what’s going on it’s him. I feel confident that he tried many times to get permission to reveal this and the “most lucrative since Bolt” became the compromise. But remember, an NDA says nothing about liking the tweets that get closest to the actual number!

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Kyle Merber

After hanging up his spikes – but never his running shoes – Kyle pivoted to the media side of things, where he shares his enthusiasm, insights, and experiences with subscribers of The Lap Count newsletter, as well as viewers of CITIUS MAG live shows.